Libraries switch off wi-fi internet
June 04, 2008
Four libraries in Paris have turned off their wi-fi internet connections after staff claimed they were causing health problems.
The latest to shut down its wireless network is the wireless Sainte-Genevieve university library in the 5th arrondissement after a member of staff threatened to take early retirement on health grounds.
The library has had wi-fi installed since the end of 2007. All computer users will now have to plug their laptops into the conventional fixed-line network.
In his letter to his employers, the shop worker stated: “Over the last few months, and increasingly over the last few weeks, I have suffered strong symptoms associated with the wi-fi network.
“Other sources of electromagnetic radiation, including mobile phones, have also played a part.”
“Symptoms have included headaches, balance problems, general weakness, stress and sight problems.”
A spokesman for the library confirmed the wi-fi had been switched off while associated health problems were investigated.
Spokesman for Agir Pour L’Environnement, an environmental pressure group, Stéphane Kerckhove supported the decision.
He said: “Some people insist that the symptoms are psychosomatic. This could be the cause but at the moment there is absolutely no proof of that.
“Wi-fi is a recent invention, and in the long term no one knows what the health effects are going to be.
“If there are complaints, and a library is equipped to give a fixed-line internet service, then it is better to be safe than sorry and protect the health of library workers until we know what the health effects are.”
June 4, 2008
WiFi in Libraries Blamed for Health Maladies in Paris
To many people, the idea that wireless networks cause health problems seems wacky.
But four libraries in Paris have switched off their wireless connections after staff members complained that electromagnetic radiation from the networks was the source of their health problems, according to an article today in the newspaper, The Connexion.
The article states that the latest library to turn off the service is at Sainte-Geneviève University. The action was taken after a staff member threatened to take early retirement on health grounds. He said his symptoms included “headaches, balance problems, general weakness, stress and sight problems.” But he also blamed electromagnetic radiation from cell phones for his maladies.
College employees in North America, too, have raised health concerns about wireless networks. A library director at Southwestern College, in Santa Fe, N.M., left her job last year, saying the wireless network played a role in her insomnia. And two years ago the president of Lakehead University, in Ontario, prohibited his institution from deploying a wireless network across campus citing concerns about students’ health.
Despite these worries, the Centers for Disease Control says scientific research does not indicate “a significant association between cell phone use and health effects.” Cell phones also emit electromagnetic radiation. But an article in Tuesday’s New York Times points out that three prominent neurosurgeons do not hold cell phones to their ears in order to reduce their brains’ exposure to radiation.—Andrea L. Foster
Posted on Wednesday June 4, 2008
Holden’s cell towers pose health risk
Published: Wednesday, June 04, 2008
To the editor:
I am responding to Sandra Thomas’ article on cell towers at Hillcrest Park (“Crusader rings alarm for Bell tower,” May 23).
I was interviewed for the article, as was parks commissioner Heather Holden. She was quoted as referring to “some fringe groups out there who are implicating cell towers in connection to health risks….”
On Aug. 31, 2007, The Bioinitiative Report was released (www.bioinitiative.org). It was written by 14 international scientists, three of whom are former presidents of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, the pre-eminent worldwide organization of scientists studying this exact subject of health effects of electromagnetic fields. Their report took into account 2,000 published, peer- reviewed scientific studies. The press release states, “The report concludes the existing standards for public safety are inadequate to protect public health.” I wonder if this is the fringe group to whom Commissioner Holden refers?
My ongoing concern is not restricted to the adverse health effects of long-term, involuntary exposure to this electromagnetic radiation. As a taxpayer, I am concerned about the litigation potential of installing cell towers on public property.
There has already been a successful claim in the Alaska Supreme Court for damages caused by electromagnetic radiation. There have also been two successful workers’ compensation claims awarded in California.
For the park board to ignore the financial implications–as well as citizens’ legitimate health concerns–and take a short-sighted money grab reflects either greed or incompetence or both. As a reminder, there is an election in the fall.